France was one of hte principal countries responsible for developing classical ballet. HBC is not sure, however, about the current status of ballet in France. Ballet is promoted in France by the L'Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra National de Paris. Some information is available on the L'Ecole de Danse in Paris. HBC also has no information on ballet in other areas of France. HBC is also unsure how French boys look at Ballet. Limited information available from France suggests that the attitudes of French boys are not dissimilar from those of American and English boys. Ballet in France as in America and Britain appears to be primarily pursued by girls.
I'm not sure how popular ballet is with French boys. HBC has received only limited information from French contributors. One source informs HBC that the situation in France is similar to other parts of the western world. Many do not think that ballet is a very masucline activity and thus not suitable for boys. This attitude persists despite the very great athletic skills demanded by classical ballet. Dancing is generally regarded as a girlish activity and boys generally just hate the idea of being forced to learn ballet (or even simple social dancing for parties). The case is not the same if you consider some other sports linked to art like skating where ballet, although a side issue, is present. Same reasonning for artistic gymnastic--just compare the prestations of girls and boys in those two sports. Furthermore I think that the popularity of ballet for girls is also partly due to mothers' belief that ballet contributes to a girl's education, building posture, grace, and an appreciation of aestethics.
The most prestigious ballet school in France is the Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra National de Paris. Boys can begin studing there at age 8 years. The young ballet pupils of the Paris Opera School are often refered to as "Les petits rats de l'opéra" (little rats). There are weight and height criteria. There are approximately 140 pupils at the School, the majority of whom are boarders. The boarding house is closed over week-ends and during all holidays. Academic studies are regarded as an integral part of the students' education. No
student, boarder or not, may therefore be exempted from the courses provided by the
Education Nationale on The School's premises in the morning from 8.00 to 12.00 am.
The afternoon is devoted to dance. Non-French speaking students study French at an
appropriate level. Dance subjects: Classical Ballet - Pas de Deux - Variations - Repertoire
- Contemporary - Jazz - Character - Mime and Folk dances. Allied subjects: Dance History - Musical Expression and Singing - Solfège Corporel Gymnasium training (male students) - Anatomy -
L'Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra National de Paris is the best known and most respected ballet schools in France. There are, however, many other schools located throughout the country. HBC, however, has very little infornmation on these schools. Most require bots to wear tights for practice sessions. Black tights are commonly worn. The shirts are more varied.
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